In Runoff Race Between George Gascón and Jackie Lacey, George Gascón Remains Right Choice
Coronavirus Crisis Shows What’s At Stake in LA District Attorney Race and the Consequences of Overcrowding Prisons
Failing to get over 50% of the vote, District Attorney Jackie Lacey will face a runoff election with challenger George Gascón in November. Color Of Change PAC continues to support George Gascón as the right choice.
“While a further delay of this race is not the outcome we hoped for, we are confident that the community will continue to rally behind George Gascón for LA County District Attorney and the crisis we are now facing makes the case for him even clearer,” said Rashad Robinson, President of Color Of Change and spokesperson for Color Of Change PAC. “Los Angeles County had to release nearly 2,000 people from jail to limit exposure to the coronavirus, but it should not take a public health crisis to recognize the importance of keeping people who pose no threat to others in their homes and communities.”
“This current pandemic demonstrates the importance of decreasing prison populations, as not only a criminal justice objective but a public health incentive,” said Robinson. “The people of Los Angeles deserve a District Attorney who understands this and has shown a real commitment to getting people safely back into their homes and communities. Gascón is that leader.”
Gascón co-wrote historic legislation to reduce penalties for small drug possession and reallocate prison spending to local treatment programs. Gascón was the first prosecutor in the nation to clear marijuana convictions, expunging over 9,000. And he established one of the first young adult courts in the nation to divert children away from prison.
By contrast, DA Jackie Lacey’s tough on crime policies have had disastrous consequences for Black people, who are 13 times more likely to be incarcerated than white people in Los Angeles County. She opposed a bill that would prevent children from being charged as adults, even writing to the Governor formally requesting that he veto the legislation. And her office continues to overcharge low-level drug possession. Finally, under Lacey’s leadership, Los Angeles County has been home to the second-highest death toll for police shootings in the nation. Despite calls from the community for accountability, Lacey has refused to prosecute officers for fatal shootings of unarmed civilians.
“Their records and what they mean for the people of Los Angeles could not be clearer,” said Robinson. “We believe Gascón’s criminal justice reform efforts have served as a positive model of leadership in a moment when the stakes could not be higher.”
Color Of Change PAC, the political action committee of the nation’s largest online racial justice group, endorsed George Gascón earlier this year. Throughout his tenure as San Francisco’s District Attorney and Assistant Chief to the LAPD, Gascón launched California’s first public portal on prosecution data, expunged over 9,000 marijuana convictions, and co-authored legislation to reduce punishments for certain nonviolent offenses.
Color Of Change PAC ran a grassroots voter contact program led by more than 120 Los Angeles members. Over the past several months they engaged 89,923 unique irregular voters by text message, phone calls, direct mail, and canvassing. This campaign has been centered in Black joy and building long-lasting relationships with Black voters through dozens of community events, including brunches, happy hours, canvasses, and text-a-thons. Today, Black voters reminded their elected officials that they will not be denied their voice and are a political force to be reckoned with.
The runoff determination of this round follows reports of an incident in which the husband of Los Angeles District Attorney incumbent Jackie Lacey pointed a gun at Black Lives Matter protesters. Color Of Change PAC released a statement on the incident, quoting spokesperson Robinson: “This incident reveals the disdain that Jackie Lacey and her husband hold for the community she wants to represent and the disregard they have for law enforcement’s indiscriminate use of gun violence against innocent Black people.”
Color Of Change PAC’s endorsement of Gascón continues a nationwide effort to elect progressive District Attorneys. These efforts include the endorsement of Audia Jones for Harris County District Attorney in Texas, as well as the endorsement of Cook County State Attorney Kim Foxx in Illinois in conjunction with musician and activist John Legend.
Color Of Change PAC is a Political Action Committee focused on building independent Black political power, amplifying Black voices, electing candidates who share our values, and holding them accountable to our communities. For more information on Color Of Change PAC, visit votingwhileblack.com.